Future laptops could soon be thinner and faster thanks to this new standard

Dell and JEDEC are counting on the long-term adoption of a new RAM standard for portable PCs. Instead of the SO-DIMM format that we know, the market could thus gradually migrate to more efficient CAMM modules.

The two RAM memory modules in SO-DIMM format of the Laptop Framework // Source: Frandroid

Compression Attached Memory Module is the full name of CAMM: a new format of RAM that we could soon find on a large scale on laptops. Conceived by Dell and announced last year at CES 2022, it has been closely scrutinized by JEDEC, in charge of semiconductor standards, which has recently started supporting this new format.

As things stand, the organization in charge of harmonizing formats (notably RAM), would like to make CAMM the appointed replacement for the current SO-DIMM standard, used for RAM modules housed inside many laptops (especially gaming models).

The purpose of the maneuver? Avoid the performance throttling that will soon be the victim of RAM on laptop PCs if you continue to use the SO-DIMM format. As explained pc world, SO-DIMM modules will indeed not be able to go beyond DDR5 at 6400 MHz. A threshold that the market is getting closer and closer to.

RAM in CAMM format, what is the point?

Compared to SO-DIMM RAM (used since the mid-90s), the CAMM format was designed from the start to make laptops thinner (according to Dell, CAMMs are for example 57% thinner than their SO-DIMM counterparts), without sacrificing performance. CAMM would thus easily take over from SO-DIMM from DDR5-6400 and beyond.

According to WCCFTech, CAMM modules will be able to start with 16 GB of DDR5 and go up to 128 GB. However, it’s a safe bet that the advent of CAMM will occur during the transition to DDR6… in a few years. To do this, laptop manufacturers will have to completely rethink the design of their motherboards in order to exploit this new format. This SO-DIMM / CAMM transition would therefore not take place immediately.

Source: Dell

Be that as it may, this new standard has the other advantage of having been designed to allow easier repairs and replacements. It is therefore a format ready for the future of the market, which seems to be moving towards machines betting more and more on repairability (one thinks in particular of the Dell’s Luna Project or even at Framework Laptop).

Dell, which designed this new standard internally, finally ensures that it does not want to make it a proprietary format. The brand, which nevertheless seeks to recoup its development costs, wishes instead to bet on openness to allow the most global adoption possible of CAMM by other brands. With the support of JEDEC, this wish could end up being granted.

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